Yesterday was International Homeless Animal’s Day, but it’s an important message for every day. We want to talk to  you about this day not because Best Bully Sticks thinks you don’t care, or that you won’t remember. Being a broken record about events like International Homeless Animal’s Day is about state of mind—active change; and state of heart—compassion. This day of observance is very much like other awareness or recognition days, but the importance of the message shouldn’t be discounted or lessened with each repetition.

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem in the United States. “Serious” is a passive word by itself, so to make that more tangible: 10,000 pets are euthanized every day. Only about 20% of shelter animals are spayed or neutered. The International Society of Animal Rights began raising awareness for this particular issue in 1992 with events like candlelight vigils, adoption events, rallies and more.

Pet overpopulation and euthanization are going to be problems until enough concerned citizens get involved and raise awareness to a greater population. Here are a few ways you can get involved and start making a change.

Participate in a Candlelight Vigil
Vigils are held on different days throughout the country and are meant as quiet moments to reflect on the scores of animals who have been euthanized in the past. Check here to see if an event is being held in your area. If not, you can also participate in the virtual candlelight vigil.

Volunteer at an Animal Rescue
Many rescues are understaffed and always in need of help. It’s very likely you’ll never be turned down at a rescue as a volunteer. They’ll put you to work bathing, walking, feeding or even answering phones all for the sake of the animals in that rescue.

Foster a Shelter Pet
Fostering can be a big commitment, and isn’t right for every one. However, temporarily providing a loving home for a pet is a great way to help out not only the pet, but the shelter responsible for the pet’s care. If you already have one easy-going pet, it may be very easy for you to add one more into the mix. Talk about this option with those in your home and, of course, with your local rescue.

Call, Write & Talk
Call your senator. Write your congressman. Talk to your neighbor. Or, any combination of these! Talking about spaying and neutering animals and why that’s important is the first step in awareness. It may seem like a no-brainer, but if no one else is talking about this subject, it’s up to you to start the conversation.

Donate
We’ve already talked about donating your time as a volunteer for your local shelter, but donating pet food and supplies could relive a great burden off of your favored organization. If you have the means, talk to your local shelter to see what items they need.

Best Bully Sticks hopes you are the spark of change in your community this year to support the well-being of homeless animals in your area, in your state and the world.